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McConnell Says Dems Still Stoking Political Tensions After Kavanaugh

Senate majority leader also believes the controversy is firing up the Republican base going into the midterm elections

When a reporter asked him Wednesday how he’s trying to reduce partisan tensions in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed Democrats for the increased political bitterness generated during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“I think Republicans need to continue to act just like they did,” McConnell said at the Senate Republican leadership’s regular Wednesday press conference. “Look at the way Chairman Grassley handled the committee in an evenhanded and calm way. You didn’t hear Republicans in the Senate during the Kavanaugh debate talking like that. It’s pretty clear what has been creating this atmosphere. It’s not coming from the Republican side of the aisle.”

“We got a little preview of what life would be like in the United States Capitol with Democrats in charge if they are successful and capture one or both congressional chambers after the midterm elections,” Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters.

“Angry mobs, intimidation, showing up at people’s homes, mailing them coat hangers, and trying to intimidate members. That’s not actually my idea of how the United States Congress should operate,” he said.

Related: Survey Says Republicans Madder and More Likely to Vote Than Dems

McConnell said Kavanaugh’s ill treatment by Senate Democrats is firing up Republican voters going into the November 6 midterm elections. But he also suspects both parties will see a very high turnout with all the political tensions.

Rasmussen Reports found in a survey released on October 10 that 62 percent of Republicans are more likely to vote because of the bitter confirmation process, compared to 54 percent of Democrats.

The two parties are also evenly split on the generic ballot, with 45 percent.

The Kavanaugh confirmation process was highly contentious since President Donald Trump announced the nomination on July 9. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary was constantly interrupted by shouting protesters during confirmation hearings, senators were cornered in crowds, hallways and elevators, and were threatened and subjected to cursing and physical jostling.

Related: Kavanaugh Ceremonially Sworn In as Family, Mentors Look On

Kavanaugh had his record and character relentlessly attacked throughout the process before being hit with sexual assault allegations, which began to surface September 12.

He was accused by three women of sexually deviant behavior such as assault and even organizing gang rapes in his younger years.

Democrats cited other reasons for why the process should be delayed before the assault allegations overshadowed everything. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and other Senate Republicans on the committee had denounced the constant calls for delays as nothing more than a partisan move.

meet the author

Connor D. Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected].